I don't think I ever officially met Carl Beane, the longtime Fenway Park PA announcer who was tragically killed this afternoon in a one-car accident.
I saw him around all the time usually collecting sound at the Garden during Celtics playoff games and I certainly heard his voice whenever I made it over to Fenway. But sadly, I'm pretty sure we were never introduced, so I definitely can't pretend to know him as well as so many others who worked alongside him (in some capacity) over the last handful of years.
But I do have one random Carl Beane story that I tell from time-to-time, and this feels like it should be one of those times:
It was the summer of 2008, and I was driving back from spending the Fourth of July at a friend's house in New York State. My girlfriend and I had been up late the night before, got off to a late start that morning and basically just didn't feel like being in the car anymore, so we pulled off at an exit in The Berkshires.
We drove into one of those random little towns (I forget which one), and pulled up to the first visible hotel the parking lot of which was entirely empty except for one car.
An SUV with an enormous baseball on the back.
As we got closer, we could see that it was actually a novelty spare tire cover that had been embroidered with a big No. 26 in the middle, and the letters BEANE centered under that. I knew the name, and obviously made the connection. But if that wasn't enough, the car was also decorated with numerous bumper stickers and decals making reference to "Voice of the Red Sox" and pimping www.carlbeane.com. This thing wasn't a car. It was a Carl Beane machine!
And I have to admit, we thought it was hilarious. Over the next 24 hours, we probably walked by his car four or five times, and laughed every time. First, at the fact that it was the only other car in the lot. Second, because who does that? The guy had turned his car into a Facebook page.
At one point, I remember saying something like: "Man, Carl Beane sure loves being Carl Beane."
I was kind of joking, but it was entirely true.
Carl Beane loved being Carl Beane.
He took more pride in being "the voice of the Boston Red Sox" than most of us take in just about anything. Like I said, I never really knew him, but I can say this for sure.
He loved his job. He loved the Sox. He loved baseball.
And it was absolutely awful to click on that link this afternoon and see that same car, with that same crazy novelty baseball cover, slammed into a tree. It's an unbelievable tragedy. Like everyone else, I feel awful for his family. He was a great guy.